FaceApp raises privacy concerns

These days, if you log onto social media, it seems like everyone wants to become old

These old age filters have become so popular that every second person is seen using it , Face App is the app that has made old age filters popular

Face app has become so popular that it was trending on number 1 on the App store.

But if there was something trending right after this app, it was the idea that using this app might cause data hacking

All the photos in your phone would be transferred to the Russians

To what extent is this true?

Come, let see how safe it is or how dangerous it is for our privacy to use this…..

Face App is an app that has been designed by a Russian Company and It makes use of Machine learning and algorithms to apply an old age filter on your face , It is the same technology that is used in Snapchat filters, Instagram filters and Deep fakes.

Summing up in short, you have to provide an input in the form of existing old faces and young facesSo that the algorithm is able to understand the pattern of how old faces look and how young faces look,

When a lot of data is entered, then it will recognize the common things. that these patterns are visible in every human’s young face and old face.

So it will apply the same patterns on the existing young photos and an old face filter will be created.

When you click a photo with this app, then this app sends this photo to its servers . There, it applies its algorithm and its filter and sends it back to your phone and you’re able to view it with the filter.

The difference between this and snapchat and instagram is that the latter don’t send the photos to any servers , Instagram and snapchat locally, on your phone, apply filters and algorithms .There’s no requirement of an internet connection for that

The face app requires an internet connection if you wish to apply filters.This is a huge difference in comparison with Instagram and snapchat.

To explain why this is done ,

the Face App developers say that

the algorithms and machine learning used in this requires a lot of processing power .Only because it is a very sophisticated algorithm are you able to see a very realistic looking face.So they claim that that the normal phones do not have this amount of processing power.except the latest i phones and androids.that the processing could be done on the phones, hence they send the photos to the servers.

The controversy regarding this app was that,

Someone tweeted that this app uploads all the photos in your phone on its servers.So in a way, if you use this app even once, then all the photos in your phone are sent to their servers.They all went to the Russians and now they could do any thing with your data.Now since this was Russia, the situation became more problematic in a way because..

the relations between Americans and Russians is a kind to the India Pakistan situation

They do not trust one another.

So since the Russians had designed this app, the people were even more afraid.Secondly, when the people read the privacy policy of this app,they got even more afraid because it is written in a very terrifying way.It reads,You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from,distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed,without compensation to you.

Reading this will make you think they’ve written down all possible ways to use your photo

So it is not surprising that the people fearful upon reading its privacy policy

thinking that they could do whatever they feel like once we upload our photos here.

Let us see what the makers and developers said in response to this entire controversy ….

they said that this (app) only uploads those photos on the servers that you want to apply a filter upon the one that you yourself choose.

This (app) does not upload all the photos in your phone.It someone is suspicious, then they can use network sniffing tools and find out themselves,whether all your photos are being uploaded or only one is being uploaded So someone did check this and confirmed that this (app) uploads only one photo .the one that you yourself want to upload.This (app) does not upload all the photos in your phone

It someone is suspicious, then they can use network sniffing tools and find out themselves.whether all your photos are being uploaded or only one is being uploaded So someone did check this and confirmed that this (app) uploads only one photo

the one that you yourself want to upload.

Secondly, the company stated that the photos that are indeed uploaded on its servers,most images out of them are deleted within 48 hours

That is, it doesn’t store them. But we personally do not have any way to check this So it is upto you whether you want to believe them or not.

Thirdly, it said that it doesn’t leak or send any information to Russia.Although the research and development of this app is based in Russia, this app utilizes the USA servers

It utilizes Amazon web services and Google cloud.

The founder of this app says we don’t sell or share any user data with any third parties.They also said that is not possible to link a person’s face with his name or data only through this app

Because most of the users of this app do not log in on it.

If one uploads a photo without logging in, the app would not know the name of that person

It isn’t possible to link names with faces.

Finally, this app also stated that if you want to get all your data removed from its servers, you can also do this by requesting

The procedure to do this isn’t so easy. Go to settings in the App, then go to support .Then click on “report a bug”

When you send the message to report a bug, then write “privacy” in the subject line And write below that you want all your data deleted.Then, this app will delete all your data.

So the question that arises here is that is it safe for your data and privacy to use this app ?

What do you feel? Think about it.

I’ve told you both the sides. You can think for yourself.

The privacy risks of using this app are the same or more than using Instagram or Facebook

This app merely has your photos

Facebook not only has your photos, but also your name, date of birth, likes dislikes and other things.

So facebook can create a better profile of you.

In fact Facebook uses facial recognition in your photos if you haven’t switched it off in your privacy settings.When you read Facebook’s privacy policy, you’d find it similar.

Doing so would ensure accountability and they would be able to do better and secure our privacy.

Written by

Blogger | Security Researcher | Digital forensic analyst | Twitter — @mrunal110

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